This morning, the Plum Line’s Greg Sargent confirmed CNN contributor Alex Castellanos’ political consulting firm, National Media, is the ad buyer for the insurance industry group America’s Health Insurance Plan’s (AHIP) new ad blitz attacking Democratic health reform plans. ThinkProgress also reported that Castellanos has received four payments totaling $434,336 from the Republican National Committee for media work since July. In response to the mounting criticism, CNN vowed to be “vigilant” in the future. CNN political director Sam Feist sent the following statement to Sargent:
“Not only has CNN identified Alex Castellanos as working on behalf of the Republican Party and on behalf of health care clients, the network is proud of its practice of disclosing relevant information about its contributors and guests. CNN will be vigilant in our efforts to ensure both their affiliations and potential conflicts of interest are cited when contributors appear on our air.”
The policy of full disclosure should extend to other CNN pundits, including Frank Donatelli, a GOP lobbyist who represents Blue Cross Blue Shield.